LEAD 623

LEAD 623 – Session 4 Prompts

March 2, 2023 – 7:00 p.m.


Prompt 1 – Part 2 of Reframing Organizations (Bolman & Deal, 2021) takes and in-depth look at “getting organized” and the “Structural Frame”. Having previously examined the idea of frameworks as the “mental models” (p. 10) we use to understand the world (and organizations) and then to describe “what is happening” in organizational interactions and settings, Bolman & Deal use this section to describe structure as both a lens for understanding organizational life and as an essential component of every organization. As Bolman & Deal introduce the Structural “frame” they note that all organizations have structure. Structure and its components – goals, strategies, technology, organization, people, environment, etc. – are essential to the existence of every organization. Drawing on the images of organizational structure provided in our reading, describe the structure of the organization you are studying. Is the structure that is in place effective in helping that organization thrive? Explain your response. Why is structure important to every organization – regardless of the framework the organization uses as a defining mental model?


For large group discussion: How does understanding organizational structure strengthen the leader’s ability discern the need for change and to implement change when it is necessary? How might the ability to use structural framed thinking help leaders to “understand what is going on” in their organization …whether their primary frame is structural or one of the other frameworks? As you reflect on your own perspective and experiences, in what ways will a structural perspective be a strength for you as an organizational leader?  In what ways could it be a limitation?


Prompt 2 – A key role of the leader is to recognize the need for change and to guide or lead the organization through change. Hatch (chapter 4) identifies an important element of organizational life that is often overlooked by leaders: the lifecycle of the organization. Likening the lifecycle of an organization to the lifecycle of humans (Erikson, 1963), Hatch identifies phases of the organizational lifecycle and notes that “each phase is dominated by a different focus that leads to a crisis that threatens the organization’s survival” (p. 130). She goes on to say that when successfully met “the crisis brings about revolutionary change that moves the organization into its next developmental phase” (p. 130). Using the concept of lifecycle phases and identifying specific phases of lifecycle development (entrepreneurial, collectivity, delegation, formalization and, collaboration), talk about what phase your organization may currently be (fit) in. Is your organization nearing a time of phase transition – or is it lingering at phase that it needs to move beyond? How does the leader recognize the lifecycle phase an organization is currently in and how do they discern when it’s time to move on to the next phase?




For large group discussion: Since an element of the leader’s role is to recognize the need for change and to lead the organization through change, how can an understanding of organizational lifecycle support effective leadership of an organization? When an organization is transitioning from one lifecycle phase to the next, what might be the leader’s role in facilitating or guiding that transition? What may be the impact when an organization is “stuck” in a phase that it has grown past? How does understanding organizational lifestyle help us to better understand an organization’s culture?


Prompt 3 – Through the semester as students have written about their organizations of interest, a number of organizational challenges have been identified that, while different in context and detail, can often be related to “people” concerns in the organization…in many cases these are connected to employee concerns or challenges. Chapter 7 of Bolman & Deal discusses people and organizations, specifically organizations’ development and investment in employees and the employee experience. The chapter identifies varying philosophies of employee engagement and discusses a number of strategies for developing employees and changing their experience or work environment to bring greater satisfaction. Considering strategies and ideas identified in this chapter, discuss their possible implications in relation to your own organizational experience. What human resource frame strategies or ideas may be useful to help you evaluate and resolve the organizational problem(s) you have identified in your writing this spring.


For Large Group Discussion: How does the human resource frame, as described by Bolman & Deal in chapters 6-8, help the organizational leader to evaluate and develop creative solutions for organizational concerns and challenges? Are there specific elements of this framework that are most useful in this analysis? As you reflect on your own perspective and experiences, in what ways will a Human Resource perspective be a strength for you as an organizational leader?  In what ways could it be a limitation?



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